Darlington Building Society has been officially recognised by a national organisation campaigning to ensure all workers are paid enough to live on.

The Society, which has nine branches across the North-East, has today been accredited as a “Living Wage Employer”.

The Living Wage Foundation has welcomed the Society as a member of a movement aimed at guaranteeing that all staff receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.30 – significantly higher than the Government minimum of £8.72 for over 25s.

Nearly a quarter of all workers in the North-East – around 213,000 – are paid less than the “Real Living Wage”.

However, Andrew Craddock, chief executive of Darlington Building Society, said: “Our aim is to be recognised as an exemplary employer that truly values its staff, and this important accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation underlines that ethos.

“We want all our staff to know that by working for us, they will always be rewarded fairly for their hard work and contribution to the Society’s continued success.”

The Society, which is more than 160-years-old, made a series of commitments to staff from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, including reassuring them that they will remain on full pay, with no redundancies, for the whole of 2020.

As lockdown began to ease the Society went one step further by giving four local people invaluable work experience on a paid summer placement scheme. This was followed up last month by the appointment of eight local apprentices as part of the ongoing commitment to grow its own talent.

The Real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the cost of living, providing a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the Government minimum.

Since 2011, the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to more than 230,000 people and put more than £1 billion extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Darlington Building Society has joined the movement of over 60,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further that the Government minimum to make sure their staff have enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names, which recognise that paying the Real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer.”